Did Someone Say Husky Sledding? 5 Brilliant Winter Activities around Kinross Cottages

We may be busy enjoying the delicious and exceptionally hot Central Otago summer but we are all dreaming about ways to keep cool!

Kinross Cottages is an incredible place to stay in winter. Located in the Gibbston Valley just outside Queenstown, our boutique vineyard accommodation is within 45 minutes’ drive of three fantastic ski fields: Cardrona, Coronet Peak, and The Remarkables.

Stay tuned for a separate Kinross Cottages blog about which Queenstown ski field is best for you and your group, but suffice to say that there’s a whole snowy world of possibilities for skiers and snowboarders staying with us at our boutique vineyard accommodation in Gibbston.

Downhill skiing and snowboarding are just the very beginning of what’s on offer around the Gibbston Valley, with a whole host of other activities available from wine tasting to wellness to adventure sports.

The sun shines a lot in winter here in Central Otago, and you’ll often get cold, crisp days where the smell of wood smoke and pine floats through the valley, the nearby lakes glitter with that dreamy winter sparkle, and your breath steams in the fresh winter air. This is perfect weather for getting out and exploring all the region has to offer.

Winter is coming, so let’s get planning! Here are 5 wintery activities to enjoy on your Queenstown ski holiday at Kinross Cottages.
  • Get on your bike and go winter wine tasting
  • Soak your tired muscles in a hot pool|
  • Go Husky-Sledding through the Southern Alps
  • Take a Distillery Tour to Taste one of the Rarest Vodkas in the World|
  • Finish your day with a yoga or pilates class with a heartbreaking view.

Spending a morning skiing on the mountain under powder blue skies, before heading back to Kinross to grab some rental bikes for a gentle cycle along the famous Gibbston Wine Trail, with a string of 8 world-class wineries, a gorgeous pub, and a brewery to visit.

The vines may be sleeping in the cold weather, but the wineries are warm and welcoming, and highlights along the trail include the excellent wine cave tour at Gibbston Valley Wines, the astonishing architecture and barrel room of Peregrine Wines, and the fabulous local pub, the Gibbston Tavern.

And don’t forget your wine tasting stop at Kinross of course. We’re the Cellar Door for five local wineries who don’t have their own cellar doors, including the four times world champion Pinot Noir winemaker, Grant Taylor of Valli Wines.

It’s an easy ride between the wineries; 600m is one of the longer stretches and the bike trail is mostly flat, so even if you haven’t ridden a bike for a while or are unfit, you shouldn’t find it much of a challenge. Intermediate riders can journey even go further to the fabulous gold-mining town of Arrowtown, enjoying the stunning views of the river gorge along the way.

Tip: If you are not 100% that the weather is on your side, why not get the Kinross team to organise an electric bike for you!

If your ski holiday doesn’t involve blissing out in a hot pool, is it really a ski holiday?
This is not a question you’ll have to worry yourself with during a stay at Kinross, where we’ve recently installed a gorgeous hot tub on the ridge above the cottages, affording a stunning view of the vines and the valley, snowy mountains and sky. Just remember to book in the General Store, where you’ll be given soft towels and a basket for the all important wine.And if that’s not enough hot tub action, Kinross is only a short drive from the famous Onsen Hot Pools, where hot pools sit in rooms with huge glass windows and a roof that retracts at the push of a button, creating open air vistas of snow melt rivers and soaring mountains. The alpine water in the pools is adjusted for the weather conditions, and can be heated up to nearly 40 degrees if you’re enjoying the pools while it snows. Tip: Remember to book early as it’s become super-popular and there are only 6 pools. 

You can do this in the General Store so that all you need to do is arrive there!  For a day or night you’ll never forget, take the 40 minute drive to Cardrona, the site of one of New Zealand’s finest ski fields, which is also home to dog sledding at Snow Farm! If this activity isn’t on your bucket list, we can’t imagine why.You’ll learn about the huskies and then jump in the sled basket for a guided run along the mountain trails, or learn how to control the dogs yourself and go self-drive!

You can even go for an 8km night dog-sled run under the light of the moon, the only sounds the hiss of the sled runners cutting through the snow and the dog’s panting as they streak across the hauntingly beautiful landscape.

Tip: Underdog NZ runs dog-sledding at Snow Farm in the winter from July to late September, weather permitting.

After dog sledding, cross country skiing, or snowboarding at Cardrona, you’ll want to finish your day with a tour of the Reid vodka distillery, only one of six single malt vodka distilleries in the world and home of a seriously surprising vodka, with tropical hints of banana and a decadent smoothness.It’ll warm the cockles of your heart, this one. But don’t go overboard on the tastings, as it’s back down the mountain back to Kinross afterwards, where you can snuggle in by the fire and enjoy a generous glass of red or a rich hot chocolate, or order a gourmet pizza baked in our wood fired oven.

Tip: If you’re driving to Cardrona, be aware that the road going up there is the highest main road in NZ, so have your snow chains ready. Kinross can organise transfers for you if you don’t want to drive.After a day of adventure in the fresh air, stretch your muscles and breathe in the Willow Room at Kinross, where Pilates and yoga classes run several afternoons a week. The setting is superb, with huge glass doors looking out across the vines to the mountains that shelter the valley.What a place to centre yourself and relax on holiday.

Kinross will also be running yoga and ski retreats in 2018, led by a brilliant snowboard, ski, and yoga instructors who already teaches popular yoga classes at Kinross. (Please register your interest for the winter wellness retreats now by sending us a quick email.)

Tip: Save this one for a day where you haven’t been sampling all the delicious wines, vodkas, and beers of Central Otago, hey? This is just a fraction of the winter activities you can do from Kinross. Follow our social media to be updated with more blogs on winter activities in the Queenstown area.  

The team at Kinross Cottages is currently offering an incredible early bird special of 30% off in winter 2018, making this an outstanding choice for people looking for affordable 4-star boutique accommodation in the Queenstown area.


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